The Pressure of the Perfect Partner

23 Mar

As a child, and an adult, the impression of horse ownership has never failed to paint a perfect picture.  I have read many an article about the perfect pony or finding your perfect partner. The combination of facebook status’, twitter comments, beautiful equine photos and quotes, magazine and blog articles that are full of idealistic happy horse tales can’t help but fill you with guilt when you are your equine friend are having an “off” day.  During a difficult day with my horse I was once told there was never a “bad” day of horse ownership which made me question whether I really, truly had ever experienced my“perfect partner” or was I really a terrible horse owner, now overwhelmed by guilt.

But let us rethink this for a mini moment (why not pick up a kitkat and ponder on it!)…  Are you really telling me that you’ve never had a bad day with your horse or pony? Have you never experienced chasing a little terror round the field that won’t be caught in the pouring rain when you are in a rush? Am I alone when I have had the odd day coming back from a hack with steam coming out of my ears due to the bouncing, spooky beast that my horse has developed into overnight?  Or perhaps it’s only me who’s horse occasionally feels so fresh on the lunge you developed skis, suddenly jumps on your toe when you put the clippers near him, rips a brand new rug within 24hours or even looses the ability to halt in a dressage test (sideways, backwards, up and down we can manage- but stand still, just forget it!)!  Now maybe, just maybe, it is me and me alone who experiences a “bad” horsey day, but if this is the case, then I am filling up an awful lot of online horsey forum posts with my difficult experiences…

Let’s start at the beginning with the added pressure of horse hunting. Never before has the phrase of “buyer beware” been more appropriate.  You have so been longing to get your own horse and find your equine soul mate, when soon into the process you realise that the equine market isn’t quite as it seems. The combination of inaccurate descriptions, peculiar horse owners, travelling the country and failed vettings leave you feeling rather deflated and the pressure to get this hell over and finally find the one is mounting.  Finally, when you thought you couldn’t bear to drive another mile to find that perfect partner, there he is.  A beautiful happy equine, gleaming clean, he knows his owner and location inside out, oozes confidence and has the face of an angel. No sooner have you fallen in love, he’s coming home with you and you can start your perfect partnership together.

But is it really perfect?  And should it be?  Can you really expect to take a horse from everything and everyone he knows and expect everything to fall into place, run like clockwork and for you to instantly know the answers to everything he needs.  Much equine literature would lead you to believe this is an idealistic process but I would ask you to consider other significant relationships in your life. Have you never had a battle with your significant other over something silly?  Did you instantly know what your better (or worse!) half was thinking when you first got together?  I think, and hope, the majority of people would answer no of course not, and neither would we expect to.  So is it really fair to expect this from our horses and perhaps we should not be so frustrated with ourselves, or our horses if we have the occasional off day.

I am not writing this to convince you that the perfect equine partner for you doesn’t exist and everything beautiful you have ever read about horse ownership isn’t true.  Of course he does and of course it is. I don’t love my other half any less for his annoying habits and I don’t love my horse any less for dashing across the school when a leaf turned over yesterday.  But maybe it’s time to consider your ideal horsey match with a little less pressure attached to them.  For as long as you want to go back after the bad days and make the next day a good one for the both of you, then there you have it- your perfect pony partner!

Enjoy your horses, and learn from it all, the good days and the challenging ones!

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One Response to “The Pressure of the Perfect Partner”

  1. ipogonowski March 23, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

    Never a bad day just a day to learn and improve 🙂

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